Jessica M. Karmasek May 29, 2013, 4:15pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. (Legal Newsline) -- Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Tuesday the state has filed a notice of appeal in an ongoing lawsuit over fish-blocking culverts.

"The state remains committed to doing more to address fish passage barriers and will continue to do so as resources permit. The implications of the case, however, stretch beyond culverts. Issues of this magnitude deserve full and thoughtful appellate review," Ferguson said in a statement.

In March, Judge Ricardo Martinez of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington ruled that the state must fix the culverts located under state-owned roads.

In particular, the judge, in issuing a permanent injunction, required the state to repair more than 600 culverts over the next 17 years.

The culverts currently violate tribal treaty rights, Martinez explained in his March 29 ruling.

Treaty Indian tribes filed the initial case litigation in 2001. The tribes, the federal government and the state have spent years trying to come to an agreement.

Ferguson said Tuesday the case is being appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The court will soon establish a schedule for the briefing and argument of the case, he said.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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